Whether you have a cat who freely wanders the neighborhood or a dog who occasionally escapes from the back yard, using GPS tracking devices on pet collars is a good way to keep tabs on your four-legged friends.
Even if your dog or cat is micro-chipped, once they’ve conquered the fence, that’s it. You have no way of knowing where they are until someone finds them and takes them to a vet or rescue organization so their radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips can be scanned, identified and used to locate the owners.
RFID and GPS: Two Completely Different Things
It’s important to note that the RFID implant is not a global positioning system (GPS) device; RFID chips are simply passive identification, not real-time tracking GPS devices with an internal power source. This is why several manufacturers now make GPS-enabled devices that can be attached to pet collars to track their locations and notify owners of their whereabouts via a hand-held receiver, a smartphone app, e-mail, text message or via a website.
Here are just a few of the pet GPS devices manufacturers are offering today:
Garmin GTU 10 — This GPS tracking device made by Garmin, attaches to your pet’s collar and offers a variety of features such as geofences or “virtual boundaries” that can track your pet in a pre-configured area and warn you when they have entered or exited the space. And to ensure that you know where your pet is at all times, it offers “continuous gap tracking sessions,” which report your pet’s location every 15 seconds for up to 5 hours. In addition to tracking the location on your computer, Garmin also offers a tracking app for your Android or iPhone.
Garmin Astro 320 — Primarily used by hunters, this system consists of a collar that sends a signal to a hand-held GPS receiver, identifying its position up to 9 miles away on flat, unobstructed terrain. And it’s rugged, too, standing up to a variety of outdoor conditions, such as heat, humidity, rain, snow and dust, which is important when your loyal four-legged companion heads into swamps, dusty fields or several feet of snow. Every 5 seconds, the transmitter in your dog’s collar sends a location signal to your hand-held device, so you’ll always know where she is, along with a trail of where’s she has been.
LoveMyPetsGPS — This GPS device is contained within a specially-made pet collar. If your pet goes missing while wearing a LoveMyPetsGPS collar, you simply log onto the website to view your pet's exact location on a map. Or, if you can’t access a computer, you can call a toll-free number to talk to a customer representative who will provide the location.
Whether you have an aging cat, a curious puppy or a bird dog ready to see some action, GPS manufacturers are sure to offer a device that’s perfect for you and your pet. And if dogs and cats aren’t your thing — but horses, parrots, mini-pigs, or who knows what else, is more your style, this same GPS technology can be used on them, too, because GPS tracking is an equal opportunity technology.